Azerbaijan vs France
As expected, this was a turbulent battle, and although Azerbaijan took six gold medals in the individual competition, France have an incredible team mentality that is tough to contend with. Emmy GALLUDEC claimed the first win for team France in the -63kg category in ne waza, giving them an initial reason to celebrate, however Azerbaijan weren’t far behind.
Swiftly, Aslan KOTSOEV defeated Desir ZOBA CASI (FRA) with uchi mata in the -81kg category, and just as swiftly, another uchi mata in the +63kg from the current European champion, Leonie MINKADA-CAQUINEAU put France back in the lead. This final team match up felt like it was moving at the speed of light, and though Azerbaijan were confident of their next win given that their representative Ramazan AHMADOV had taken gold yesterday, he found himself in an uncomfortable clinch with Matheo AKIANA MONGO which did not go in his favour. It was now 3:1 to France, and one more win meant victory. It seemed that it would be the case, as Vusala HAJIYEVA picked up two shidos and was almost caught twice in osae komi, then a last second, waza ari-scoring drop seoi nage brought her team back in the game.
Mahammad MUSAYEV was one of Azerbaijan’s champions this week and it was all on him to even the score to 3:3 just to get the draw. Ura nage in the -60kg category levelled the score and the final of the Cadet European Mixed Team Championships went to a draw. The category roulette began, selecting the -60kg weight. Unfortunately for France, this meant an automatic win for Azerbaijan, as Adrian MIVOVAN (FRA) was unable to continue following the hard landing of the ura nage technique. Speaking with Musayev after the awarding ceremony, he was relieved that his team ended on a high,
I felt a lot of pressure because I was afraid that there was a possibility to lose but thanks to God, I won and there was still a chance for our team to win, I hope that we will prepare well for the world championships and we can sing our national anthem again. I am very happy that I have taken two gold medals this week, and I want to say thanks to all of the coaches and the national federation who have helped me achieve this.
Türkiye vs Italy
First up was the -63kg category, with current cadet European and world champion Sinem ORUC (TUR) looking to lead her team to victory, and that she did, a sumi gaeshi giving Türkiye the first win. Alessandro Bruno D URBANO (ITA) worked tirelessly, and almost three minutes in to the -81kg round, managed to set up a perfect, ippon-scoring drop seoi nage. In a much faster fashion, Türkiye’s other European champion Tuana GULENAY executed a deep ko uchi gake in 40 seconds to take the +63kg win. Still they needed two more wins for the bronze medal. Though Ibrahim TATAROGLU (TUR) lost out in his final contest yesterday in the +90kg category, he wasn’t about to repeat and feigned an uchi mata then changed direction, scoring ippon.
Finally, pressure was on -48kg Gizem DINCER (TUR) for the fourth and final win but she wasn’t off to a good start against Giulia BONZANO (ITA) who scored the first waza ari with uchi mata. However the team support was too great, Dincer managed a waza ari in osae komi and moments later an o soto gari gave the team the winning score, Türkiye took bronze!
Georgia vs Netherlands
The Georgian team started at a disadvantage as they were missing an athlete for the -63kg category, but quickly Giorgi BENDELIANI evened the playing field in the -81kg category. Unfortunately, just as quickly, Lizi KVARTSKHAVA was disqualified, once again putting Netherlands in the lead, but then a huge o goshi from the +90kg cadet bronze medallist Shotiko GOCHIASHVILI was enough to add the second win for Georgia making the score 2:2.
Lizi DZOTSENIDZE (GEO) was struggling to find a way in against Noor NOUFAL (NED), and the Dutch was dominating the contest, with both gripping and attacks. A weak ko uchi attempt from Dzotsenidze was almost lost, then she took her chance and switched behind her opponent with a low tani otoshi, sending Noufal back for a surprising ippon. Finally it was down to Tornike GIGAURI for Georgia’s fourth win. In the individual event, he came in as the number one seed but failed to win his initial contest, but today was another day and another opportunity to demonstrate his abilities. Opponent, Zef JANSEN (NED) tried to set up for uchi mata but was countered in colossal fashion, though it only scored waza ari. Gigauri continued to put the pressure on and found himself holding Jansen in osae komi, awarding Georgia the team bronze medal.
It was a wonderful conclusion to the week, with an amazing level of judo, witnessing the potential stars of the future.
Author: Thea Cowen